Nineteenth century medals awarded to Rudgwick soldier sold at auction

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Two medals awarded to a 19th century Rudgwick soldier sold for £336 at an auction last Thursday April 23.

The India General Service 1854-1895 medal with its Jowacki 1877-8 clasp and the Army Service & Good Conduct medal were awarded to Rudgwick-born gunner James Edwards, who served with the Royal Artillery in India and Afghanistan.

The medals were sold at Spink in Bloomsbury,London.

James Edwards, son of Rudgwick farm labourer James Edwards senior and Ifield-born wife, Jane Edwards, was born in Rudgwick in or around 1834 and he and his family lived at Moorland Cottage, Rudgwick.

At the time of the 1851 Census, James Edwards junior was, like his father, a farm labourer.

In January 1861, when he was twenty six or twenty seven, James joined the Royal Artillery and served with them for twenty years and 194 days before he was discharged from the army in August 1881.

He then returned home to his beloved West Sussex and, in 1891, he was a lodger at the home of the Bennett family at 17 Prospect Place, Horsham.

His silver India General Service Medal, with its distinctive red and dark blue striped ribbon, features a clasp co confirming his involvement in the Jowacki campaign of 1877-1878 in the North West Frontier of India.

According to John Hayward, Diana Birch, and Richard Bishop in their book, British Battles and Medals: “The Jowacki Afridis, who occupied the territory between Peshawar and the Kowat Pass, made continuous attacks on their neighbours.

“Two forces, under the command of Brigadier Generals C.P.Keyes and C.C.G.Ross, were sent to suppress these incursions.

“Brig Gen Keyes with the main body attacked and captured Jummoo, the principal stronghold, on December 1,1877.”